An ad hoc student-faculty committee on consumer responsibility, formed by Dean Rosovsky at the request of the Committee on Houses and Undergraduate Life (CHUL), will meet for the first time this Thursday to discuss Harvard's position on consumer boycotts.
Some student members of CHUL yesterday said they hope the committee will determine a general policy on boycotts to clear up misunderstandings evolving from CHUL's October vote to boycott Nestle Corporation products.
William Mayer '79, a CHUL representative from Adams House, said yesterday he had understood that Joe B. Wyatt, vice president for administration, will make a decision on the CHUL boycott before the committee meeting. "The solution Wyatt talked about was that the Nestle boycott would be settled in some way and then a moratorium on future boycotts would be declared until a committee considered broader issues," Mayer added.
Daniel Cohn '79, a CHUL representative from Lowell House and the original sponsor of the resolution to boycott Nestle products, said yesterday he will cooperate with the committee because Wyatt "won't take any action until there is a general policy."
Mayer, however, said he wants Wyatt to implement the Nestle boycott now. "We have lived up to our part of the bargain in the sense that we've called up the committee and are participating in it. He hasn't settled the Nestle boycott," he added.
Not a Word
Wyatt could not be reached yesterday for comment.
Committee members will discuss appropriate reasons to call a boycott, the standards used to decide whether to boycott corporate products, and the role of the special committee in recommending policy changes, Mayer said.
Discussion at the meeting will center around an article by William G. Bowen, president of Princeton University, describing external policy issues confronting universities, Cohn said. Wyatt sent a copy of the article to all members of the ad hoc committee, Cohn added.
Bowen's article concludes that universities are not morally responsible for the actions of the corporation producing products a university consumes. Mayer said yesterday he disagrees with the article's conclusion. "There are precedents for groups within the University to take a stand on non-University issues" like the Faculty vote in 1971 to condemn the Vietnam war, Mayer added.
Archie C. Epps III, dean of students, the only administration member serving on the committee, said yesterday he is optimistic because he believes the committee members are all of "very high quality." He added he hopes the committee can report to CHUL before February